Sunday at the Masters: the roar, the incredible shot-making and the heart-stopping finish.
It was EXACTLY like an EPIC round of golf played, circa 1974, at Norman’s Westwood municipal golf course.
Honoring the policy of this blog, we will not name the high school players involved. Especially Todd, Gator, Steve and myself. Nor will we *mention that alcohol might have been involved.
It was late Fall, cold, and the course was almost empty. Why? Listen to the words of the state song for a hint: “OOOOOOOklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the course, at about 900 miles per hour, ripping the flesh right off your face.” But there we were.
Two of the *”unnamed” golfers, Gator and Todd, could actually play golf, in the sense that they “lettered” on Norman High’s alleged “golf team”. Steve and I, as alleged football players, were qualified to play golf inasmuch as we could cuss and throw clubs.
By the third hole, because of the horrific conditions, several in our foursome had almost died from hypothermia and chapped lips. Then a miracle happened. Gator, like his career military officer Dad, was always prepared. He pulled a full bottle of Peppermint Schnapps out of his golf bag, saving our lives.
And, as if that was not enough, he pulled out his Dad’s uber expensive driver – the sacred club which no man was supposed to touch but, because his Dad was on overseas duty, it was destined to make golfing history at Westwood.
Gator lit a Kool cigarette, approached the ball, aligned his body, set his feet, and hit a beautiful drive, beautiful in the way that bananas are beautiful. To celebrate hitting a banana ball into the woods, Gator hurled his Dad’s favorite driver down the fairway. It traveled about 20 yards, gently rotating in the air, before softly landing on the grass, and snapping right in two.
To this day, I can remember the look of bewilderment on his face, and the outpouring of moral support that someone offered: “Your Dad is going to (bad word) kill you. Bang. A .45-slug right between the eyes. You are so (bad word) dead. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah.”
Gator’s measured response signaled to the world that he would go on to become a great leader of men.
“Give. Me. The. Bad Word. Schnapps.”
I have only vague memories of any golf shots hit by Steve or myself that day. I think one of my tee shots somehow ended up behind me, having gone through my legs. And Steve, loaded with testosterone and Schnapps, crushed a drive. But thanks to an amazing hook, and the 900mph wind, he lost ground. These things were to be expected of crummy football players and in no way compared to…
…Todd, Mr. Golf, who proceeded to put on what golfers call “an exhibition.” Not an exhibition like Tiger Woods used to give when he owned the PGA. More like the exhibition when Tiger crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a tree.
After hitting an errant approach shot, and uttering the obligatory bad words, Todd dug deep, whirled and let fly with his iron. It was a thing of beauty. His iron went farther than his shot. But, while the ball remained in play, the iron got stuck in a tree. About 25 feet up in the air.
We offered Todd moral support — “I can’t believe you got your (bad word) iron stuck in a (really bad word) tree, hahahahahahahah” — yet for some reason he was still somewhat irritable. After he chipped into a water hazard, he slammed his wedge into his golf bag, ripping a huge gash in it. Then he snapped.
“THAT’S IT!” he screamed, dumping his clubs, balls and tees onto the ground. He hoisted the bag above his head, walked 20 yards to the water’s edge, and chucked it in. But rather than sink, it gently bobbed up and down. Mocking him.
Somehow, we finished the round, with Todd awkwardly carrying all of his clubs in his hands, Gator mumbling about welding his Dad’s precious driver back together, and Steve and I, frozen and exhausted from laughter, certain that golf was the most entertaining sport ever invented.
It was just like Augusta.
*This blog’s strict privacy and non-disclosure policy prevents us from mentioning that the Schnapps was 151 proof
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